Poison pie

☠️ This is a great pie to bake for Halloween… or any time you feel witchy! 🧙🏽‍♀️🧙🏽‍♀️ ☠️

I got Malcolm Bird‘s fabulous book “The witch’s handbook” as a Christmas present in 1989 and we enjoyed reading it and making some of the crafty activities, but we never baked much at home, and also most of the ingredients in the cooking section were a bit unusual for Spanish palates, so the cooking recipes were sort of out of reach.

I still liked the book so much that I recently bought a second hand English edition—and it came just in time for Halloween. The best! 🎃

As I browsed through the book, the Poison Pie recipe caught my eye. Why not bake it, now that I feel confident to do so?

Poison pie - a puff pastry pie with a skull & crossbones made of puff pastry too
Poison pie

Ingredients

My version of this recipe is slightly modernised, as I replaced a diced boiled egg with diced halloumi instead, and added extra mushrooms, but for the rest it’s all pretty much untouched. It has stood really well the passage of time. After all, witches live for a very long time, and so should their recipes!

  • 1 large onion
  • 250 g of mushrooms
  • Optional: dried mushrooms (e.g. porcini)
  • Optional: halloumi cheese
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dill (a handful or as much as you like in a pie), or replace with any other herb you prefer!
  • Puff pastry (500g or enough that you can cover the pie dish or pan you intend to use)

You’ll also need a pan to fry things in, and a pie dish. I used a cast iron pan though, so I cooked all the ingredients on it, added the pastry on top and placed it directly in the oven.

Bat decorations made out of newspaper
Bat decorations made out of newspaper

Preparation

First prepare all the ingredients to be cooked:

  • Slice onion finely
  • Chop mushrooms into cubes
  • Chop halloumi into cubes
  • Chop dill
  • Put a bunch of dried mushrooms into a small pot with very hot water so they rehydrate

Now onto the actual cooking.

Add some oil on a pan, set the heat to high and add the onions when the oil is pretty hot. Cook until the onions are soft:

Chopped onions in a cast iron pan
Chopped onions in a cast iron pan

Add the diced mushroom cubes to the pan and fry and stir until they’re just almost done (you don’t want them to be overcooked).

Mushrooms and onions in a cast iron pan
Adding the mushrooms to the pan

Add the halloumi and stir around until the liquid it releases is gone and the cubes look cooked (they will soften, and might also shrink a bit in size):

Halloumi added to the cast iron pan
With the halloumi

Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their liquid (the magical stock):

Adding more mushrooms to the pan
Adding more mushrooms to the pan

Add 1 tbsp of flour and stir and mix in thoroughly (avoiding lumps etc).

Add the milk, stir everything well together:

Turn the heat off.

Add one beaten egg, the dill, salt and pepper and stir and mix everything again.

Pan after adding a beaten egg and dill
After adding the beaten egg and dill

Add the pie top. Brush top with beaten egg.

Use a pointy instrument such as the handle of a fork to draw the skull and crossbones on the remaining puff pastry, and then cut them out (I used scissors) and place them on top. You can brush them with beaten egg too, or leave them unbrushed so they don’t get as much colour and look ghostlier, which is what I did 👻

Pie before baking
Pie before baking

Bake at 180ºC for about 30 minutes, or until the top looks well cooked (i.e. golden brown).

Poison pie - a puff pastry pie with a skull & crossbones made of puff pastry too
Poison pie

We ate a piece of this with some salad and also a quite strong sake that Devvers describes as “with aminoacids”, so basically… something that could stand up to the flavours in the pie!

Even if it’s not perfect-looking, I was really pleased with this first attempt at Poison Pie.

I suppose the fact that I had made the puff pastry from scratch helped make me feel very proud too. It was easier than I expected, and tasted so much better than shop-bought puff pastry.

Here’s my very artisanal and hand-made puff pastry, full of imperfections and human touch (in addition to actual butter, not “vegetable oils and fats” and “emulsifiers” 😏):

Puffed up puff pastry - showing lots of layers
Look at all the layers

So it was exciting to see it really puffing up, despite it being a bit too small for the pan. Not only did I cut it a touch too short, it also shrank when cooking. Next time I will prepare a bigger pastry piece!

But it was delicious nevertheless, and so much fun! 😋

Skull and crossbones decorations made out of newspaper
I also made skull and crossbones decorations…
Shadow of a skull and crossbones streamer made out of newspaper
… and the shadows are fabulous!

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